Excerpt – Love in the Time of Zombies by Jill James

Below is an unedited excerpt of my current w.i.p. Love in the Time of Zombies. This book has been the most difficult I’ve written. It is my first time in 1st person POV. It has been a difficult time in my life. It has become a much bigger story than I originally planned. I’ve also decided to do something different with this release. When it is done and I’m trying for a few quotes from some authors I will put it on pre-order via Smashwords to Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo. They are doing that now and I think I’ll give it a try. With Indie publishing I think you have to try everything at least once to see what does and doesn’t work.

Emily Gray is off for a day of zombie hunting. Enjoy!

LoveintheTimeofZombies 200x300Unedited Excerpt of Love in the Time of Zombies by Jill James

We go out in a group of eight. A team of two in each direction on the map; north, south, east, and west. Nick and I have south for the day. It’s my favorite. We can walk straight down the old bypass with Mt. Diablo on our right. For the first few miles, the cars have been cleared and you can see for a good distance. Last week a fire whipped through the hills around us so the stubble is short, burned, with nowhere to hide.

The pop of gunfire starts as the spotters on the corners take out the undead outside the perimeter of the mall. Nick and I check out the area when the popping stops. Spotting no one, dead or alive, we shimmy down the rope ladder that will be pulled up as soon as we are clear. I’ve been doing this for months now and my heart still stops beating when we jump down and the ladder is pulled up.

I stand by the containers stacked to make temporary walls on what was the road into the interior of the shopping center. Putting the binoculars up to my eyes, I turn in a semi-circle to scope out the area. The teams from the shopping center across the road are starting their morning too. The faint pop-pop of rifles carry across.

Once Nick is down, I try to look elsewhere as the ladder is pulled up. I close my eyes and clutch my lucky necklace in my fist. The metal edge bites into my palm and reassures me by its very existence. The necklace was a thirteenth birthday present from my parents. The center is a fifty-cent piece minted in my birth year 1990, inserted into a fancy, silver filigree setting. It is never off my body. I sleep and shower with it.

We trek across a field to the broken asphalt of the Highway 4 Bypass. The first time we went this way, Nick told me of the grand plans and tax dollars used for a new road, but the economy didn’t just not bounce back from the recession, it sunk into a depression that made the former Great Depression look like a temporary dip in the Dow Jones Index. I’d been oblivious in San Francisco. Carl had come from money and I guess the city was better off to start with than the outlying East Bay. The zombie apocalypse was a great equalizer. Money was worthless and your skills put food on the table, clothes on your back, and a canvas roof, at least, over your head.

Love in the Time of Zombies is coming soon!

Editing is Discovery

I spent this week editing and revising my paranormal romance, Dangerous Shift. I never realized that editing allows you to fall in love all over again with your story. I have always loved this story. It is the story of my heart. It was the first true kick-ass heroine I wrote. It was the first story that I truly pushed the boundaries with the love scenes. I love paranormal, futuristic romance and this was a love affair to write. This was one of those stories where you feel the story is writing itself. You sit down eager to write, to see where the characters will take you today. You love the characters, the setting, the adventures, trials, and happily ever after.

I discovered all over again that I love my writing. I don’t mean it is perfect, I mean I spotted gems along the way, a few sentences that just flowed. I saw places where I still cried reading the dialogue. I fell in love with this story all over again. It was like when you read a story by your favorite author and are swept along in the story. That is how I felt today. I want to hold that feeling deep inside for the days the writing is not flowing, the days I hate my characters, and for the days the words will just not come. Yes, I want to hold this feeling forever.

Have you ever finished something and just been satisfied with a job well-done?

Jill James

The Process

Somewhere along the line writers get asked about their process. About how they sit down and write a story.

I always start with a title. I love playing with titles and trying to find one that feels like it goes with the story in my head. Tempting Adam was easy. I kept hearing that Pink Cadillac song in my head.

Well now way back in the Bible, temptations always come along
There’s always somebody tempting you
Somebody into doing something they know is wrong
Well they tempt you man with silver and they tempt you sir with gold
And they tempt you with the pleasures that the flesh does surely hold
They say Eve tempted Adam with an apple
Man I ain’t going for that

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/n/natalie+cole/#share

I knew my characters would be Adam and Yvette. Since I knew I was setting the story in Hollywood I knew my characters reminded me of movie stars. Adam St. Eden is a young Robert Redford from The Way We Were and Yvette Giardino is a Vivian Leigh or Morgan Brittany. Auburn hair, sweet face that you just know is all about the sin.

So with characters in mind, title to set me in place, I turn on the music. Soft rock for writing and Celtic Instrumentals for editing. I love Pandora I can set a mood or kind of music I want to listen to. I plug in the earphones and I’m in my world I’ve dreamed of and invented. Some days I hit the zone. The Zone is a magical place for writers where the words just flow through you. You look up when the alarm goes off and stare at words you wrote but don’t remember writing. It is like the story is dying to get out and you are just the instrument to get the words on the page.

I can only write in 60 minute spurts. I get brain freeze after that. So I write, alarm goes off, and I do something else for 20, 30 minutes and come back to the page again. Editing I do in 3 chapter increments. I can do 3 chapters, then my eyeballs feel like they are on fire and I need a break to come back fresh to the page.

What is your process? Not just for writing, but anything that is your passion to do.

Jill James

Almost There

There are spots in writing where you are ‘almost there’. The last chapter, the last page, The End. See, The End is not really The End, because edits are next.

Some writers work very cleanly. They edit every line, every paragraph as they go. By the time they are at the end, it is almost ready to go. Maybe a little search for typos and such.

Some writers work not so cleanly. That would be me. I write balls to the wall. Racing to the end. The story is in my head and I need it down on paper. This means lots of critique partners and editing before I send it anywhere.

Doesn’t matter which method you use, at some point, you still get to say ‘almost there’. I’m almost there today with my editor’s first round of edits she sent me. It is getting the once over for spelling and grammar and one last read-through since I made the other edits she sent and I want to be sure it didn’t change what I wanted to say.

Then it is off to the editor, with me eagerly awaiting the next step.

How do you write? Do you get stuck with lots of edits, or are you an edit as you go writer?


Jill James